Extensive damage believed to have been wrought by vandals on a newly-built home in Pickerington's Preston Trails subdivision has prompted its developer to offer a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the act.
Westport Homes Inc. Division President Jack Mautino said vandals caused in excess of $60,000 to the home Oct. 13, leaving its future occupants scrambling to find housing for a month.
Mautino said someone broke into the house in the 600 block of Herrogate Square and plugged up the bathroom sinks on the second floor of the structure and then fully opened the spigots.
He said the vandals also took a lawn sprinkler that was outside the home, brought it inside to the first floor and turned it on.
The result was "significant damage to the drywall, countertops, carpeting and hardwood floors," Mautino said.
"The home had to be completely renovated," he said.
"It was ready for closing in October, but unfortunately it set us back 30 days," Mautino said.
After twenty-five years in the home-building industry, Mautino said the recent crime was easily "in the top two or three" in terms of damage caused by vandalism.
"It's completely disrespectful," Mautino said.
"We hope to find this person and if we do we'll prosecute to the full extent of the law."
The sheer audacity of the act was particularly appalling, he said.
"We've had issues in Preston Trails, (such as) broken windows and signs," Mautino said.
"It's usually just kids being kids and doing stupid things, but this was really significant," he said.
"It's been taken to a whole new level.
"That's why the reward went up," Mautino said.
"It's inexcusable for somebody to do that much damage to a home," he said.
Mautino said another home under construction in the same subdivision also recently suffered damage when vandals threw paint "against the walls, interior trim and on the floor" in the basement.
He said that act of vandalism occurred less than a week after the Oct. 13 incident.
As for the home on Herrogate Square, Mautino said he anticipates the residents will be moving in later this month now that renovations are completed.
"We're anticipating them closing in November," he said.
The city of Pickerington has posted an alert on its website with information about the monetary award.
It directs anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the Oct. 13 incident to call either Westport Homes at 614-891-8545; or the Pickerington Police Department at 614-575-6911.